Parker loves to dance, but one ordinary, rainy Tuesday, the D.C.-based young ballerina skips dance lessons to instead join her mom and younger sister Ava on a spontaneous trip to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. To Parker’s delight, her friend, Gia, meets her there, and together they enjoy a frolic through the galleries, viewing and enjoying the art on display at the museum through their youthful, happy eyes. Jackson masterfully depicts this idea of seeing the featured paintings through Parker’s and Gia’s young eyes, exaggerating the elegance and sparkle of the painting August Belmont and Isabel Perry, and playfully showing the girls’ disgusted reaction to the work The Chinese Fishmonger as the dead fish spill out the sides of the frame. But an ordinary day becomes extraordinary for young Parker, the ballerina, when she finds herself looking up at Amy Sherald’s portrait First Lady Michelle Obama. A flood of energy and emotion overtake Parker, and while her mother pours out words of adoration about the former first lady—“Mother,” “Caring,” “Advocate,” “Sister”—, Parker is captivated. “She’s a queen,” she thinks to herself, and moments later, Parker is stunningly portrayed dancing in the same dress worn by Obama in her portrait. The scene marvelously captures the inspiration, hope, and example Obama is to a rising generation. Jackson’s illustrations throughout are remarkably beautiful, with enchanting detail and depth in the digitally rendered pictures. Jessica Curry is true to including her daughter Parker’s voice in the story, and the two are listed as co-authors.
Jessica Curry is a New York Times published author, writer, work-at-home full-time mother to two little girls, Parker and Ava. Her blog, Happy Mama, Happy Babies–a motherhood and lifestyle blog that chronicles their adventures–has been mentioned in The Washington Post, The Grio, Heavy, Daily Mail (London), ESPN’s The Undefeated, and on the Emmy Award-winning talk show The Real by Tamera Mowry-Housley, further inspiring Jessica to share candid, honest moments and memories of Parker, Ava, and their family. She and her family live in Washington, DC.
Brittany Jackson (Bea for short) is an award-winning illustrator who attended the College for Creative Studies, and is the grand prize winner and returned alumni of L Ron Hubbard’s Illustrator of the Future Award of 2007. Bea has worked in freelance as a character and outfit designer for various social networking and gaming platforms for more than eight years, though she is most publicly known in publishing as the illustrator for the popular children’s book Hair Like Mine. She lives in Detroit, Michigan.
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